Don’t sweat the sweet stuff

Merlot is often derided for its sweetness and drinkability, but liking it should not be a moral issue

31st March, 2019
Merlot grapes are picked during harvest at Château Marquis de Terme, MargauxGetty

Merlot has had a very hard time over the last 15 years: not just in sales, but more importantly in reputation. It has been cast as the shallow, populist crowd-pleaser. The very definition of an unhip chart-topper. The Westlife of the wine world.

Sales in the late 1990s were through the roof as people were drawn to the luscious, velvety, spicy, chocolate-tinged delight that flowed from very ripe merlot. It was this style that most dramatically...

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